Functions of the Central Bank of Chile
- Objectives of
- Central Bank
Locking device on one of the vault doors.
The first basic constitutional law of the Central Bank was in force until July 1953, when the decree with the force of law (Decreto con fuerza de Ley) No. 106 was approved, giving rise to the second basic constitutional law of the Bank. This new law treated the Central Bank as an autonomous institution of indefinite duration, whose fundamental objective was to “encourage the orderly and progressive development of the national economy through credit and monetary policy, avoiding any inflationary or depressive tendencies, and thus permitting the maximum use of the country’s productive resources.”
At this stage, then, the Central Bank began to play a more active role in developing the national economy, giving priority to the full employment of productive resources, without leaving aside its specifically monetary functions.
In this sense, the new legal text empowered the Central Bank to grant credits to the State and other state bodies. Despite the authority granted to it to carry out these operations, the bank nonetheless was required to discount bills of exchange withdrawn by the Caja Autónoma de Amortización de la Deuda Pública (the body responsible for paying off public debt) and charged to the national treasury (Tesorero General de la República), in order to regularize state revenues.
Moreover, on this occasion, the presence of four parliamentarian representatives on the board of the Central Bank was ratified, and these were included during the period covered by the previous basic constitutional law.
The Central Bank’s third basic constitutional law came into effect on 30 March 1960, through the decree with the force of law No. 247. This new law maintained the same objective assigned to the Central Bank in its previous legislation, but introduced several important modifications. Among others, it changed the composition and the form of appointing board members; it created the Executive Committee, consisting of the Bank governor, the vice-governor and the general manager, responsible for implementing the agreements reached by the board of directors and managing the institution; and it expanded the Bank’s powers in terms of controlling credit and setting the reserve requirements and its different forms.
Similarly, through the decree with the force of law No. 250, 30 March 1960, the Central Bank of Chile merged with the Foreign Exchange Commission (Comisión de Cambios Internacionales), thus empowering the Central Bank’s executive committee to dictate the general rules governing foreign trade and foreign exchange operations.
The Central Bank’s fourth basic constitutional law came into force on 28 June 1975, through decree law No. 1,078. The most relevant aspects of this law include the following:
a) The Monetary Council was created, as a body of ministerial rank, responsible for establishing policy governing monetary, credit, capital market, foreign trade and customs, foreign exchange, and saving operations, in line with the rules established by the Executive (national presidency).
b) The Central Bank became an autonomous institution under public law, which can only carry out those operations for which it has been expressly empowered, but which does not form part of the State administration, so in the case of any matters not covered by its basic constitutional law, the Bank and its personnel were to be ruled by private sector regulations
c) The objective of the Central Bank was to ensure the orderly and progressive development of the national economy, through policies governing monetary, credit, capital markets, foreign trade and foreign exchange, saving and other operations, as referred to by law.
d) The Central Bank was provided with its own capital, which ceased to be divided into Class A (State), B (Chilean banks), C (foreign banks’ branches) and D (public) shares, with an expropriation procedure established in the case of classes B, C, and D shares in the case of these not being acquired by the Central Bank through agreement with their owners.
e) The Central Bank was expressly empowered to grant credits to the State by virtue of special laws, but in any case it was established that the credits granted during a calendar year could not exceed the maximum of fiscal borrowing from the Bank established by the Monetary Council for that same year.
inally, the basic constitutional law was amended by Article 27, DL No. 3001, 27 December 1979, which established that in no case would the Central Bank be allowed to acquire for itself discount promissory notes from the General Treasury or other notes of credit issued directly by the State, and nor would it be able to provide credit directly to bodies or companies from the private or public sectors, with the exception of financial institutions.